Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Day 8:
Woken up at first by the fishers leaving at 5:30, I
woke up for good when our alarm went off at 7:30.
Time to drive to the Grand Canyon.  We had been
driving through the Kaibab National Forest, which
didn’t look like much of a forest.  I figure that in
this land of deserts and shrubs any grouping of trees
is special enough to warrant national forest
attention.  We got to the Grand Canyon at about 11am.
What a big hole in the ground.  We went around to the
various viewing points, ate lunch in Grand Canyon
Village and then did a hike around the rim.  There
were so many people there.  I liked Zion much better.
Less people, more up close and personal, more variety
in activities.  At the canyon your hiking choices are
pretty much either super easy or very difficult.
Every other sign they were warning you about hiking
under the rim. “Can you run the Boston Marathon?” One
went.  “Margaret did.  She died hiking Bright Angel
Trail in 2004.”  Gee thanks, scare the bejeezus out of
me.  We were planning on doing the Bright Angel Trail,
the most popular trail in the park, the next morning.
Turns out you can do several lengths of the trail
without hiking the full length – a 6-9 hour hike.  The
first length is only 1.5 miles.  Of course, that’s
straight downhill, at which point you have to then go
back straight uphill.  They recommend leaving very
early in the morning, and not hiking between 10 and
4pm because the temperature inside the canyon can get
very hot and there is little to no shade.  We exited
the park and checked into our hotel in Tusayan (a town
right outside the park).  Alexa and I went looking for
dinner and an internet café.  The café was closed and
the only thing in walking distance was a pseudo-diner.
What a crappy restaurant.  Ah well, can’t expect much
in a town that lives and dies by its tourist trade.  


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